Governor Jared Polis provides update on Boulder County fire recovery
DENVER – Governor Jared Polis has joined Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle to provide an update on critical resources for the thousands of people affected by the Marshall Fire.
The Polis administration and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced that Unemployment Disaster Assistance was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people, including unemployed self-employed workers, who were living, working or commuting to work in affected areas at the time of the major disaster caused by the Marshall forest fires and straight line winds in Boulder County on December 31st.
“As community members affected by the Marshall fire face the difficult task of rebuilding, the state is working tirelessly to provide easy access to unique sites for resources, including the Help Desk. disaster and now people who have lost their jobs can access FEMA Disaster Unemployment Assistance, ”Governor Polis said.
DUA provides unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. The first week of compensation available for DUA purposes is the week ending January 8, 2022, and the last week of compensation is the week ending July 2, 2022. Claims must be filed between January 3, 2022 and February 2. 2022.
FEMA’s Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program is available to states to provide unemployment benefits to people who have become unemployed as a result of an incident that resulted in a Presidential declaration of major disaster for Individual Assistance and who are not entitled to ordinary state unemployment insurance.
People employed by damaged or destroyed businesses who are now out of work due to the fire can file for unemployment insurance. The first step for anyone wishing to benefit from this assistance is to apply for standard unemployment insurance through MyUI +. If determined ineligible, the system will provide a claim for Disaster Unemployment Insurance benefits.
According to federal law, to be eligible for the DUA, individuals must do the following:
- Provide proof of identity
- Be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien
- Apply for a DUA with the local unemployment insurance agency within 30 days of the date of the public announcement of the availability of the DUA
- Name and address of their last place of work;
- Documents verifying employment for the tax year that ended before the individuals were unemployed as a result of the disaster;
- Not be eligible for regular unemployment insurance
- Being unemployed or partially unemployed as a direct result of the major disaster
- Be able and available for work, unless injured as a direct result of the disaster (see conditions below)
- Not having refused a job offer in a suitable position.
In addition to those who lost their jobs due to the disaster, those eligible for the DUA may also include the following:
- people unable to reach their place of work or self-employment because they have to cross the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster
- people who were to start a job or self-employment but were prevented by the disaster
- people who have become the breadwinner or main maintainer of a household due to the death of the head of the household due to the disaster, or people who cannot work or provide services on their own account due to an injury caused directly by the disaster.
- In addition, the state should inform individuals that their unemployment is a direct consequence of the major disaster if the unemployment results from: (1) physical damage or destruction of the workplace; (2) the physical inaccessibility of the workplace due to its closure by the federal, state or local government in immediate response to the disaster; or (3) lack of work or loss of income, if, prior to the disaster, the employer or independent business received at least the majority of its income or income from an entity in the major disaster area that was damaged or destroyed in the disaster or an entity in the major disaster area closed by the federal, state or local government.
A list of affected businesses, structures and homes can be viewed here.
Additional resources for Coloradans can be found here.